Chairs Missing by Joe, resident at the New England College of Optometry


In Search Of….

There's only two months left of residency and yet there's still a lot left to accomplish and experience before it's done. Clinic is still busy as ever, and I continue to see interesting cases that raise my clinical skills or teach me something I didn't know before. It could be easy to come down with a case of senioritis, but it feels like these last two months will be an invaluable time where I can refine my skills to the next level, so to speak. Our end of year case projects are due in a few weeks and while I have a topic and an interesting case to go with it, I have many, many articles that I need to read before I can start writing it. 

Our current group of fourth years are graduating in about two weeks as well. It will be both sad and exciting to see them go off in to the world, much as my class did a year ago. (Crazy to think it's already been a year since graduation!) That means the new group of incoming interns will be freshly minted fourth years who will have the level of difficulty ramp up as they see challenging VA patients at the highest level of expectations for the first time. It is going to be a challenge for the residents as well, as we have become accustomed to working with super efficient, almost- doctors for the past 3 months. Our teaching philosophy will have to shift with the new group toward fostering their nascent level of experience while still trying to get patients seen in a timely manner.

But the thing that occupies nearly every spare moment as of late is the future. It seems like the 2 months since my last post have been spent mostly fine tuning my resume (or my CV), writing cover letters and figuring out times to set up interviews with potential employers. It has been a source of considerable stress; the lives of my wife and I are at a crossroads. Our lifestyle for the foreseeable future hinges on whatever job opportunity I end up landing.  Kids? House? Living in a city vs the country? Health insurance, money for retirement? All of these hang in the balance, and big choices about non-career things must wait until we know what's next for me.

A few jobs I've interviewed for have been pretty darn close to the perfect storm of location, mode of practice and benefits. I've had the chance to see what's to be offered in commercial,  private practice and medical based practices across southern New England. Each seems to have something that I know I would enjoy, and that's what makes the decision so hard. (That and both my wife and I can be indecisive when it comes to deciding what's best for the future.)  Whatever offer I accept will likely shape my career for years to come, so I had better choose wisely. Currently there are even openings at academic institutions and at VAs, but some are far away and would require a big move, something we don't think we should do at this point in our lives unless an offer blows us away.   It still remains cloudy as of now.

Whatever the future holds, it's going to be a furious race to the finish of the residency year.  Hopefully, once a job is landed it will make all the other end of year things seem less stressful and allow me to sail smoothly in to the horizon as I finish out the year.

And so that's about it for this post, really just a 600 word rambling of my hopes and fears. Going forward for this blog, I likely have at least one or two more posts left. Hopefully I'll be able to put a neat bow on my two plus years working for NECO's blogging experiment, and also be able to delve into all that I've gained from the year in residency at the VA. See you then!

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